BBQ tandoori chicken is as close as you will get to real Indian chicken cooked in a tandoor, the fiercely hot temperatures are the secret.
Combined with my simple tandoori marinade this dish is the perfect way to turn up your summer BBQ game!
Tandoori Chicken and the Very Best Way to Cook it
Traditionally tandoori chicken is cooked in a wood-fired clay “oven” called a tandoor.
They reach insane temperatures approaching 480°C or 900°F.
It is that insane dry heat that gives a good tandoori chicken its distinct flavour and characteristics.
You can get part of the way with boneless chicken but using a grill or broiler. I use this approach in my murgh makhani recipe and the way that I all of my tikka recipes.
But that method really does not cut it with larger pieces of bone-in chicken.
But many of you have some kit that can get closer than your oven… A BBQ and it is the perfect way to cook tandoori chicken!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I set up my BBQ to emulate a tandoor?
The secret to perfect grilled tandoori chicken is to get that barbecue as hot as you can.
I get the temperature of my BBQ up towards 350-400°C or 650-750°F. To do this you need to keep all of the BBQ vents open at all times because this sucks through lots of air.
You do however need to create two cooking zones, if you put your chicken over the direct coals you will get charcoal.
This is exactly the same process that I use to cook my tandoori fish.
Can I cook this in advance?
Yes, tandoori chicken will last in the fridge for 2-3 days and in the freezer for 2-3 months.
Do I have to marinate the chicken?
For this recipe, I would say yes, give it at least four hours, overnight is better, I will often leave it for a full 24 hours.
Can I cook this in the oven or air fryer?
You can but neither get close to the temperatures or indeed the flavour you get cooking this on the BBQ.
Heat your oven or air fryer as hot as it will go and pop in the chicken, stagger adding the chicken as I do in this recipe. It will take around 35 minutes for everything to cook.
This recipe is a rare offering from me that serves 4 people rather than two, although it is a challenge not to eat the whole chicken as it tastes so damn good.
I tend to try and save the boneless breast pieces and use them in my chicken tikka masala recipe on day 2.
They also make a fantastic sandwich!
Chana chaat, a chickpea salad kinda dish also makes a wonderful side for tandoori chicken.
I only name-check brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.
- BBQ or Grill with a lid.
- Kitchen tongs.
- Mixing bowl.
- Min blender or pestle and mortar.
- Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
- Cling film.
- Quick read meat thermometer.
This recipe takes a whole chicken and breaks it down to form the most incredibly glorious meal, nothing short of a Tandoor oven cooks tandoori chicken quite like a BBQ!
- 1.2kg (2.5 lb) Whole Chicken
- Pinch of Chat Masala
For the Marinade:
- 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
- 4-5 Tsp Kashmiri Chili Powder
- 1 Tsp Salt
- 150g (⅔ Cup) Plain Yoghurt
- 6 Garlic Cloves
- 35g (Thumb Sized Piece) Ginger
- 1 Tsp Garam Masala
- 1 Tsp Turmeric
- 1 Tsp Ground Cumin
- Break down the chicken into drumsticks, thighs, wings, breasts and chicken tenders.
- Cut the chicken breasts into 3 pieces.
- Peel the garlic and ginger and place in a blender with the salt and blend to a smooth paste and then transfer to a large bowl. You can do this with a pestle and mortar too.
- Add the remaining ingredients for the marinade and mix well.
- Throw in the chicken and massage the mix marinade into the meat, cover the bowl with film and then place in the fridge for at least 4 hours, you can leave it for up to 24.
- Get your BBQ as hot as you can, making sure you have both a direct and indirect heat zone.
- Place the chicken thighs and drumsticks in the indirect heat zone and cook for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes add the wings and cook for 15-17 minutes.
- Finally, add the chicken breast pieces and the chicken tenders and cook for 12-15 minutes.
- Check that the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 74°C or 165°F.
- Set aside to rest for 5 minutes and sprinkle with a pinch of chat masala before serving.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 700Total Fat: 40gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 284mgSodium: 875mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 74g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.